Digital sales of music represented 10 per cent of the total worldwide music market in 2007, up from six per cent in 2006, according to In-Stat.
By 2012, digital music sales will represent an impressive 40 per cent of all music purchased worldwide, the research firm forecast.
Factors contributing to this growth include the global expansion of broadband, continued demand for single-track downloads, and expanding music catalogues. Another key driver is the potential for market growth in full-track downloads to mobile handsets in markets other than Japan.
"Digital piracy continues to represent the primary challenge to online music service providers," said Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst.
"Other obstacles still include the lack of interoperability between services and devices due to differing digital rights management (DRM) technologies, and weak consumer demand for subscription-based services. Another potential market inhibitor is the fact that content owners, cellular service providers, and handset manufacturers are increasing the amount of marketing and promotion for mobile music."
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report.